I am a huge fan of fado, and I am particularly fond of Ana Moura. Fado, like the blues, jazz, and tango, originated in the lower rungs of Portuguese society, in Lisbon’s working class areas like the Mouraria, Alfama, and Bairro Alto port areas in the 1820s. With boats docking in at these ports from all over the world, early fado took its influences from both Arabic modes and African styles.
Whereas tango and flamenco have long been familiar genres to many, it’s really only been over the past decade that fado has broken out to international acclaim. The word fado (derived from the Latin word fatum) translates to mean fate. Like the lyrics from “Com Que Voz,” a famous song by the late, great Amália Rodrigues, where she sings “Com que voz chorarei meu triste fado” (“with what voice should I lament my sad fate”), fado draws upon such themes as love, destiny, despair, betrayal, and death. In fact, Amália was once quoted as having said, ”I have so much sadness in me; I am a pessimist, a nihilist…everything fado demands in a singer, I have in me. I am on my own, alone, tragedy comes, and solitude.” Fado was a means of proletariat expression for dealing with and commiserating over the struggles and pains of everyday life.
When I previously interviewed Ana Moura, she cited Amália’s work as having been a major influence in her own musical career, though their vocal styles are vastly different. Ana Moura is blessed with a soft, lyrical voice. Her delivery is perhaps less pointed and does not soar to dramatic climaxes. Rather, the natural ease with which she sings exudes a tenderness and vulnerability that has won her fans over. I am certainly one of them.
Ana Moura returns to Los Angeles and will perform this Friday, November 14, at Westwood’s Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz—once at 6PM and then again at 9PM. The theater space is small and intimate, with only 150 seats, which is perfect for fado since it was never intended for big venues. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
For those of you not in the LA area, you can view her concert schedule to see if she’s coming to your city.
“Amor Afoito,” a track from Ana Moura’s most recent album, Desfado.
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